Sprint Samsung Epic 4G available today, thoughts on another week of use

The Sprint Samsung Epic 4G launches in stores today and I still am not 100% sure I won't be picking mine up on the way home. Sprint has a couple of great high end devices to choose from with the EVO 4G and Epic 4G.

Last week I wrote up my first impressions of the Sprint Samsung Epic 4G and offered some personal comparison thoughts with the Sprint HTC EVO 4G. After now spending another week with the device I can say that my bottom line is the same, if you want a device with a keyboard get the Epic 4G and if you don't then get the EVO 4G. They are both great choices and I was close to going to the store today to pick up my reserved Epic 4G, but it would cost me about $600 (10% sales tax and upgrade fees) and it doesn't have enough over the EVO 4G to warrant that price. I did learn a couple new things about the Epic 4G over the week that I wanted to share though.

Keyboard has custom shortcuts

In my first impressions I wrote that the keyboard was not as good as the G1 because it wasn't customizable. It turns out that Samsung did not put these settings in the keyboard menu or any other place I would have thought, but I did find them hidden in another area. If you go to Settings>Applications>Quick Launch then you will find the ability to assign 36 custom application shortcuts to the letters of the alphabet and numbers 0-9. This is AWESOME and really makes the keyboard a much more functional part of the device as you can now live in landscape mode and jump to different apps with ease.

Bottom touch sensitive button backlight

I mentioned that the bottom buttons on the front bothered me since they went out too fast and then you had to remember the order and placement of them. I learned through comments and experience that you can adjust these in Settings>Sound & display>Keyboard timeout and they are supposed to match the keyboard timeout. I used the setting to match the display timeout, but still saw the keys going out before the display did. At least they lasted longer and were not as bothersome though.

GPS is fine on the Epic 4G

I don't know why I had a few days of issues with the GPS fix on the Epic 4G, but over the last week it was able to get a fix fairly quickly. I still find the HTC EVO 4G getting fixes faster though so I still think the Epic's GPS can be improved by a software update.

People have talked about frame rates for video playback and gameplay, but I played a couple of movies side-by-side and never saw an issue on the EVO 4G. The colors are darker on the Epic 4G, but I prefer the larger display on the EVO 4G and the colors still look great. I am also able to play games on the EVO 4G (such as NOVA and Let's Golf) without any issues at all so there doesn't seem to be any problem here.

I do constantly now get low memory warnings on the EVO 4G (must have been a rogue app or service because I hard reset and now have over 190MB left with 50+ apps loaded up), even with Froyo and some apps being moved to the microSD card slot, and the Epic 4G still has something like 340MB of internal memory available with several apps loaded onto it. The low memory is actually one reason I still haven't yet canceled my Epic 4G reservation.

It is a tough decision to choose which is best for you, but isn't it great that we have this problem to deal with? I don't think you can go wrong with either one and recommend you try them out in your local Sprint store today. It looks like other reviewers tend towards the EVO 4G getting a slight edge over the Epic 4G at this time though too. I know the folks at Engadget really like the Epic 4G keyboard, but still have a tough time choosing it over the EVO 4G.

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